The 2022 Year In Review

Here’s a look at the highlights, themes and key moments from the 2022 year in food:

Concept Shift – with the pre-pandemic closure of Five Fifty-Five and the 2022 shuttering of Back Bay Grill and Hugo’s, Portland’s fine dining ranks have thinned quite a bit. Twelve is the new standard bearer for white table cloth dining in Portland. In the meantime, daytime cafes and combination restaurant/markets are increasing in number. Smalls and Friends & Family are a prime examples, and coming online in 2023 are the Bread and Friends bakery/cafe, The Ugly Duckling in the West End, the Night Moves/Lambs collaboration, and the new LB Kitchen.

National Recognition – while none of the nominees came home with the gold in June, the 2022 James Beard Awards season saw Maine honored with 10 semifinalists (just shy of the record 11 set in 2020) and a record 5 finalist nominees—a confirmation of the strength of the Maine restaurant industry and hopefully an indication of what’s to come (watch for the 2023 semifinalists list in February). National recognition came in other forms as well this year: Bon Appetit included Regards on their list of the Best New Restaurants in America, the NY Times identified Leeward and Twelve as two of the “50 places in America we’re most excited about right now,” Food & Wine and CN Traveler shared their love of Biddeford, and Esquire magazine has named Twelve to their 2022 list of the Best New Restaurants in America.

Maine Food Map –Biddeford will continue to be a hot spot, and new restaurants are opening in South Portland and the Portland suburbs. However, there’s also been a growing drumbeat of new and interesting food and beverages businesses opening outside the Portland area, and in 2022 that seemed to have gone into a higher gear…here are just a few examples from the past year: Table Bar in Gardiner, Aboslem Cider in Winthrop,  Nomad in Brunswick, Solo Pane in Bath, the new Dennett’s Wharf in Castine, The Alna Store in Alna, Sidereal Brewing in Vassalboro, Wolfpeach in Camden, Sophia in Belfast, Perch in Waldoboro, Hey Sailor in Searsport, and The Rooting Pig in Bristol.

Upcoming in 2023 – For a rundown of new food businesses under development see PFM Under Construction list. Here are some of the more exciting ones in the pipeline:

  • Bread and Friends – an elevated bakery/cafe located on Fore Street.
  • Lambs/Night Moves – Kerry Haines is bringing her bakery to South Portland and her partner Wade Ritchey is opening a bar in the adjoining space.
  • LB Kitchen – Lee Farrington and Bryna Gootkind are reopening LB Kitchen in an expanded space on the corner of Congress and Smith Streets.
  • Lenora – a taco bar focusing on Mexican-inspired street food from the creators of Lone Star in Boston.
  • Mr. Tuna – a new iteration of Mr. Tuna located on Middle Street is slated to open this summer.
  • Papi – a Puerto Rican-inspired bar and restaurant expected to open early in 2023.
  • Quanto Basta – a brick and mortar version of the popular Neapolitan pizza food truck which will be located in the original LB Kitchen space.
  • Room for Improvement – a modern dive bar being brought to life on Wharf Street by Arvid Brown and  Nick Coffin.
  • The Continental – European pub food meets cocktails and featuring slow pour nitro ales and stouts in the Oakdale neighborhood.
  • The Ugly Duckling – Chaval owners Ilma Lopez and Damian Sansonetti are launching this daytime cafe and bakeshop on Danforth Street in early 2023.
  • Vertical Harvest – a 70,000 square-foot hydroponic vertical greenhouse in Westbrook.

There are also several other exciting new projects that are currently under wraps but will go public soon. Check back later this year for details.

Top 10 Articles

The most popular articles published on Portland Food Map in the past year.

  1. Eastern Prom Food Trucks – early report by the Portland Phoenix that the city was considering new rules to manage food trucks on the Eastern Prom (March 30th)
  2. Somebody Feed Phil – debut of the Somebody Feed Phil episode from Maine (April 7th)
  3. Sacred Profane Brewing – first report on Sacred Profane Brewing being under construction in Biddeford (February 21st)
  4. AC Moving to SoPo – first report on A&C Grocery moving to South Portland (March 2nd)
  5. The Danforth – interim report on The Danforth (February 15th)
  6. The Continental – first report on The Continental (April 14th)
  7. Indy’s Sandwich – first report on Indy’s (February 6th)
  8. Paper Tiger – first report on Paper Tiger (January 6th)
  9. Fish & Whistle – first report on Fish & Whistle in Biddeford (February 1st)
  10. Tobi Open – report on the opening of Tobi (June 3rd)

Notable Events of 2022


For an additional perspective on the past year in food see the Maine Sunday Telegram Best of 2022 article.

This is the 13th year running that Portland Food Map has published a year in review article. Take a walk down memory lane by checking out these past editions that covered 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010.

Filipino Community & Christmas Foods

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes an article about Maine’s growing Filipino community and the foods that are part of their Christmas celebration.

There are also traditional star-shaped parol lanterns; nine days of masses; the twinkle and hubbub of elaborate Christmas displays; the church bells; the visiting and gatherings; the caroling and dancing; the presents, for children only; and a countdown to Christmas that begins on Sept. 1. The extended Christmas season is a point of pride and joy. Also chief among Filipino culture and traditions at Christmas – and really any time of year – is the food.

Food-Fueled Biddeford

Eater Boston has published an eating tour of Biddeford entitled, One Perfect Food-Fueled Day in Biddeford, Maine.

In Biddeford, it’s relatively easy for most people to spend a food-fueled day exploring the area on foot due to the robust selection of restaurants and activities all within a mile of downtown. That means there’s no excuse not to visit the little Maine mill town, which is steadily building its own reputation as a national dining destination. After all, this tiny Vacationland spot is as charming as it is tranquil — making it ideal for a mini escape from the big city.

The article is written by former Portland resident Stasia Brewczynski.

Dobra Tea To Move

The owners of Dobra Tea have announced plans to close their Exchange Street shop while looking for a new smaller location. They will continue to sell teas online while their business is in transition.

…We signed the lease to our 1st space on Middle Street in Portland – 12 years ago almost to the day. We’ve had a good long run with so many fond and lovely memories, but change is a constant. We are sad to leave this space we created, this community of tea drinkers, but find it necessary to change our business and will move to online sales on our website as we look for a smaller space. We will wind down on Exchange Street in the next week, will be closed for the holidays Dec 25-Jan 2, and will have a clearance sale in early January.. stay tuned…We leave this space, grateful we’ve been able to inspire this community in tea, and move into the longer days of the solstice with hope, heartfelt love and deep gratitude for all your support over the past years.

Dobra originally opened on Middle Street in April 2011 and relocated to Exchange in 2014.

Solo Pane e Pasticceria in Bath

Mainebiz has published an article about Solo Pane e Pasticceria, the Italian bakery launched in Bath by the owners of Solo Italiano.

Panettone made with candied orange and raisins from Agrimontana, Sicily, served with or dipped in espresso or vin Santo.

Torrone, ricotta and prosciutto crudo on olive bread, speck and stracchino cheese on focaccia.

Those are some of the Italian-inspired breads and pastries being served up by Solo Pane e Pasticceria in downtown Bath.

Artists Tea Towel Subscription

The monthly Eat Drink Lucky Tea Towel subscription service got a shout out in the Ruth Reichel holiday gift guide.

Have you every thought about how useful your tea towels are – or how much they say about you? There they are, sitting in the kitchen, for all the world to see. Mine were pretty dull until I discovered Artist Series Tea Towels: created by women in Maine they are lovely to look at. The perfect present for people unwilling to waste a single opportunity to display art. There’s even a tea-towel-of-the-month club.

Hybrid Restaurant Markets & Sea Salt

The Food & Dining section in today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes an article about hybrid restaurant markets, and

Restaurants featuring retail space – or vice-versa – isn’t a new concept. Department stores and clothiers like Macy’s and Tommy Bahama have hosted restaurants for decades in an effort to attract more customers. Eataly, the Italian foods shopping and dining megastores with locations from Boston to Silicon Valley, has become a phenomenon all its own.

But the mashup of restaurant and retail is becoming more common here in Portland, too. From Terlingua and Onggi on Washington Avenue to Friends & Family on Congress Street, Coveside Coffee on Vannah Avenue and The Maker’s Galley on Commercial Street, the combo concept has been gaining traction around town in the last couple of years.

an article about Maine companies sustainably producing sea salt.

China is the world’s leading salt producer, but luckily for us here in Maine we have an increasingly rich local supply of the good stuff. There are three saltern operations based in Maine that produce food-grade salt using nothing but sea water and solar (and a bit of human) energy. Maine-based spice companies blend Maine sea salt with everything from allspice to sea vegetables (a newish term to take the stigma away from seaweed). And grocery stores and specialty retailers are making Maine sea salt in various forms more readily available to shoppers.

The Cellars at Allagash

Allagash Brewing is launching a new tour of the Industrial Way brewery. Named Cellars at Allagash the “immersive and intimate beer-tasting experience” focuses on Allagash’s small-batch beers and includes a guided tasting of their barrel-aged, sour, and wild beers. The Allagash Cellars tours are set to launch on November 26th. Tickets are available online.

Eastern Prom Food Trucks

The City held a meeting earlier this week to review a proposal for where food trucks will be allowed to operate in 2023 on the Eastern Prom. The Press Herald reports,

Portland city councilors on Tuesday heard feedback both for and against proposed changes to the city’s food truck program on the heavily trafficked and popular Eastern Promenade.

The council also heard from staff about their proposed plans for next season, which include reducing the number of spots available to trucks in the Eastern Prom’s Cutter Street middle parking lot from 14 to seven and implementing a new $3,900 fee for trucks to operate in the park on a first-come first-served basis.

The next meeting on the issue is taking place on December 1st and then the acting city manager is expected to make a final decision.